Da’Sean Butler knows there are people out there telling him to call it a career. He knows there are those that think that after three surgeries on his knees after tearing his ACL that the best thing to do would be to move on.
Da’Sean Butler doesn’t answer to those people. The former West Virginia University All-American knows he only answers to himself. And t
o be quite honest, that’s the only person Butler should be answering to as he ponders what the immediate future holds.
Of course, about this time last year, just before Butler had tear number three on his knee, he was working toward what many would deem his last, best opportunity to find a way to the professional game on the basketball court. Then, roughly a year ago, another ACL tear put those plans in jeopardy. In fact, many people thought they derailed those plans completely.
You can count Da’Sean Butler as someone who didn’t believe that it was over. At the same time, he also knew that the possibility that his time had passed was at hand.
For Butler, the good news was that there was another opportunity waiting for him. It came in the form of a graduate assistant’s job with his coach Bob Huggins. As soon as that was announced, the rumblings started that Butler was making a good decision for his future and it was time to hang the sneakers up for good. There were rumblings via radio shows, message boards and on any other form of social media out there that Butler’s move was an indicator that he had thrown in the towel.
As it turned out, being around the game this past year while working to rehab his knee yet again proved to provide the answer that Butler was seeking about his future. And that answer was that it wasn’t time to give up on the dream.
“I don’t want to ever say that I had any regrets in my life and I know what some people are saying. It’s my life and I’m going to give it a shot to play as long as I think I’m able to play,” said Butler. “Playing at the highest level is what I’ve always wanted to do so if it’s a possibility then I’m not going to pass up a chance.
“I’m 25 years old and I missed the game more than I could ever imagine this past year,” Butler continued. “I would feel weird and feel like I cheated myself if I didn’t give it one more go. I have to make that decision and I’m comfortable with it. I know some think it’s crazy and I also know at the same time plenty of people support me, but I have to be the one to determine what I think is best and this is what I think is best.”
As for the knee that put his future in question, Butler said it’s fine as he’s been cleared to play. What isn’t fine is the level of his game at the present time.
“I need more time working with my game. You can’t rush coming off of these things and I’m taking my time working on it. I want my game to be back to as perfect as it can before I’m able to determine where my opportunity is,” said Butler.
Butler has been spending a lot of time in Morgantown working on his game, including running the streets. He’s spent time in the new practice facility working out with former teammates Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones and John Flowers as well.
“Getting an opportunity to work out with those guys has been great,” said Butler. “I’m able to talk to them about the professional game and what to expect.”
While he’s getting the lowdown on what he may see from the professional game at whatever level from his former teammates, he also had to break the news to Huggins that he wouldn’t be sitting on the bench this coming year. That, said Butler, wasn’t a big concern.
“Honestly, I wasn’t too worried about that because Coach would support anything I would do as long as it’s something he thinks I can do. Heck, if I told him I was going to run for governor or president, he’d get behind me,” Butler joked. “He has always been the guy to push me so I wasn’t too concerned. He just gave me good advice like he always does. One thing I know will happen no matter what happens with this this is that Coach will always be there for me.”
So where does Butler think he’ll end up? Right now, he’s not sure where this latest journey will take him. His agent Richard Katz of KMG Sports Management is handling those chores.
“I’m letting my agent take care of it. However it turns out is how it turns out,” said Butler.
Ultimately, Butler is like any other basketball player. He’d prefer to make it to the NBA. He knows that may not happen and isn’t afraid of considering the D-League or an overseas venture for professional basketball.
“It will have to be the right situation, but I’m considering anything right now,” said Butler. “All I know is that I want to play and it’s still possible for me because I love this game.”
Because of that, Butler is doing what he should be doing. And that’s listening to what his heart and head are telling him – not the words of anyone else.
Editor's Note: Photos courtesy of WVU Sports Communication. Top photo taken by Brian Persinger, bottom photo taken by Allison Toffle.